Events & Music
- The Middle Ages
In a small town called Canossa,
the Pope Gregory VII lets the German emperor
Henry the IV wait three days on his bare feet, in the freezing snow,
before he agrees to accept him and pardon him for refusing to recognise
the rule of the Pope as God's messenger on earth. This event followed the
king's relentless quest to accept papal supremacy, and after the head of
the Roman Catholic church liberated the king's subjects from their debts
to the king. This resulted in their rebelling and defiance against all
authority. Canossa became a symbol and a warning
to all rulers of Europe, emphasising the power of the church, a
power that will only increase towards the founding of the holy inquisition
and persecution of Jews, Protestants and other heretics in Rome's view,
throughout the late Middle Ages.
Music during those years was promoted
by the Catholic Church and in fact was one of the most important arts to
the church - an instrument of strengthening faith and executing prayer
Pope Urban II declares a
crusade to free Jerusalem
from the Moslems.
Religious wars between Christians
and Moslems will cause conquests, and also Arab
artistic influence on European
culture, an influence that will include the
adoption, by Western music, of musical instruments such as the Oud
(transformed into the western lute,
and later to the guitar
Genghis Khan begins his
conquests, building the Mongolian Empire,
which controlled the biggest joined territory in history.
King John I of England
recognises individual rights, by signing the
"Magna Carta"; it is the first time these rights are recognised
by the state.
The plague of the "black death",
later identified as smallpox, spreads around Europe,
annihilating a quarter of its population.
in the course of the 100 Years War, the English burn
a 19 year old peasant girl who led many French to war against them,
on the stake, under conviction of witchcraft. Ever since her burning, Jean
of Arc has been considered a saint, bringing about a French liberation
campaign, that soon enough freed France from English occupation.
The Turks conquer Constantinopole,
the last relic of the Byzantine Empire, and their own Ottoman
Empire starts its 400 years journey of rein in most of the ancient
world, and has vast influence on the civilisation of Europe and the Arab
King Fernando of Aragon
and Queen Isabella of Castillia, rulers of
Spain, expel all Jews from Spain,
ending the Golden Age of Sepharadic Jewry.
Their culture will follow them
to the countries to where they fled; Ladino singing is the musical culture
of the Jews of Spain, among the assets of Jewish music.
Renaissance - Historical Events
The beginning of the era of African
slavery in the New World.
This shameful time had one positive
consequence - Jazz music.
Those formerly pagan slaves will embrace the Christian faith that they
encounter in America,
and start composing songs of devotion (the spirituals)
and sadness (blues).
Mixing elements of African music
and the influences absorbed in America, will eventually evolve into the
styles of jazz we know today.
When Henry VII died of tuberculosis, his 17 years old
son became King Henry VIII of England.
He broke free of the Catholic Church and established the Church of England;
The reason - he wanted to cancel his first marriage and to marry a second
wife. But they never lived happily after - he is remembered today for his
6 (!!!) wives.
King Henry VIII is also known for
his music talent - since the age of 10, he played many instruments, including
and grew up to be an accomplished musician. He was a keen musician, composer
fights, in Germany,
against the "indulgences" (buying the pardoning of God for money)
offered by catholic clergy to believers, and clears the way for a
new Christian church, The Protestant church - a competitor for the
Church in Rome.
And so, as a result of Luther's "economizing", the wealthiest
and most successful religious group in the history of mankind was born...
Protestantism's influence on music
is prominent most, in the shift from singing the service (the mass) in
Latin to the vernacular language.
The glorious Spanish fleet,
the most powerful one in the world, is defeated by
the English fleet, and this marks the beginning of an Empire that
will grow in a hundred years - the British
This important occurrence in the
political arena links to a great blossom in British art, and the central
place Britain will seize in music. The musical blooming England experienced
in the 16th century, will indeed be more evident in the field of religious
music, with the creation of the "anthem" - a religious musical
hymn - but also in the secular English madrigal of John
Dowland and his colleagues.
Period - Historical Events
The Declaration of Independence
by the United States of America
led by George Washington (13 colonies of the
union), later marked by three years of war started with "the Boston
Tea-Party" - the rebellion against English tea taxes.
The French Revolution is
led by the middle class, who rebelled against the reign of Louis
XVI and the privilege's policy, which was challenged by French
philosophers. They called for a rule of law and good sense, and
the masses stormed the Bastille to overthrow the king.
- Historical Events
Napoleon Bonaparte, the
meritorious French General, declares himself Emperor
of France. In the following years, he goes on a conquest around
the whole of Europe, until the defeat in Leipzig,
after which he surrendered his throne, and went into exile on the island
of Elba. He soon came back, and tried to lead the French army, during
the famous "100 days", but was defeated in the final battle of
Waterloo, and exiled once again, this time
His crowning as Emperor of France
deeply irritated the composer Beethoven,
who supposedly dedicated his 3rd Symphony, the "Eroica"
to him. Beethoven, who was very disappointed with what he perceived as
Napoleon's betrayal to the democratic ideal, erased the original dedication
from the piece's score. Another composer, Tchaikowsky,
dedicated his "1812" overture to
the battle of Bordino,
a piece in which he described the hard battle, when Napoleon started being
defeated and started his fall.
liberates Venezuela from the Spaniards
and will do the same for many countries in Latin
A group of American women, led by Elizabeth
Stanton, begins a long, difficult, and just
campaign for women's equality. This struggle gained some success,
such as the voting rights in the United States
and other countries, and the law of equal opportunity in the job market,
but it remains unconcluded to this very day, and will last for years to
The music world is one of the sad
examples of women's discrimination, and it is one of the consistent and
systematic areas in its bias, although it is not institutionalised. In
spite of the improvement accomplished in the last 100 years, woman composers
will have to fight for the right to stand in the center of musical practice.
The end of the civil war
in the United States,
with the triumph of the North and the emancipation
of millions of slaves from bondage, as promised by President
Lincoln in the "Declaration of Emancipation" which he
had given during the war.
The liberated slaves will start
looking for jobs and better living opportunities. Some succeeded to find
ones, as players and members of orchestras - and they founded the basis
for American Jazz music.
Century - Historical Events
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand,
the Austro-Hungarian heir, causes World War I to
break out, a war in which 10 million soldiers will die, and that
will ultimately destroy the Austro-Hungarian Empire and make the United
States of America the most significant power on earth.
This war will be the end of the
happy, self-satisfied Europe of
the 19th century, and open the door to the 20th century. The First World
War will be the opening for a century that will include two world wars,
nuclear weapons and genocide, combining with a total break and turn in
the arts and music towards new directions, innovative and fascinating,
yet of such a nature that the audience would find it difficulty to enjoy
and to identify with.
takes power in Germany,
and the Nazi Party becomes the biggest threat to Europe as a whole, and
to the Jews in particular. Nazi racial theory, conceived by him, will be
implemented in a particularly cruel manner and will cause World War II.
Thousands of Jewish conductors
and musicians will lose their jobs, because of Nazi racial laws, and emmigration
of artist to other countries would grow bigger and bigger.
Mao Tse-Tung marches the forces of the communist party
on their famous 6000 miles journey, preparing the Chinese people for the
revolution that would come 15 years later. This revolution
will make the biggest nation in the world communist.
The Second World War breaks out,
after the German Army invades Poland.
The invasion is merely the last in a series of rude violations of international
accords Germany signed, and only after this move, is the enlightened world
convinced that Hitler is interested in taking
over the whole of Europe, and possibly the world.
Among the victims in this war,
were tens of thousands of artists and musicians of many nations. Many were
killed in the concentration camps the nazis built, and others participated
in the war as soldiers; the global map of music will change, as the center
will finally move to the United States.
The first atomic bomb in history
is dropped on the Japanese city Hiroshima,
killing 80,000 people within a few seconds. This bomb, and the subsequent
one on Nagasaki, bring Japan
to surrender and ends World War II, with the triumph of the Allies,
but also initiates the nuclear age; the Cold War between the new superpowers
- the United States
and the Soviet Union.
By Nadav Dafni